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EDITORIAL GANGSTERS' PARADISE URBAN TERRORISTS RULE L.A.'S STREETS.

``WHERE are you from?''

That's the question gangbangers asked 17-year-old De Angelo Bolla before they shot him Sunday morning -- in broad daylight, in a crowded apartment-complex courtyard in Pacoima.

They never waited for an answer. When cops arrived, they found Bolla's body riddled with gunshot wounds.

``Where are you from?'' is the standard gangbanger kiss-off, a phrase heard all too often in Los Angeles. That these urban terrorists feel no qualms about killing their victims in plain view is a sad reminder of who controls the city's streets.

``It's not out of the norm (for gang members) either to drive up or walk up to shoot their target in rival territory,'' said Lt. George Rock, head of the Los Angeles Police Department homicide unit. The gangs are undeterred in their reign of terror.

The killing of De Angelo Bolla is a crime that, in theory anyway, shouldn't be hard to solve. The assailants and Bolla are believed to have belonged to rival gangs, and there were plenty of witnesses at the scene of the crime.

``The hard part,'' said LAPD Detective Frank Bishop, ``is getting (witnesses) to talk.''

That's because local residents' fear of gang retaliation is greater than their confidence in law enforcement. Coming forward might get these killers put behind bars, but there are many, many others, and they will seek revenge.

``Many people don't want to say anything,'' said one woman in the area. ``This complex looks safe, but the back doors are always open.''

The gangs are the law, the one authority that everyone acknowledges.

This is the reality that holds entire neighborhoods hostage in L.A., but it's a reality that city leaders mostly ignore.

Oh, sure, they pay it lip service. Sometimes they even toss a few dollars to this or that anti-gang program. But they've never made a comprehensive effort to secure our streets and take on the dysfunctional culture that breeds gangsterism.

So the gangs thrive, because the city's residents are too afraid to fight back, and its politicians are too indifferent.

And that's a crime.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Aug 30, 2006
Words:344
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